Instructional Design: Good or bad?

Posted: 16/09/2010 in Week 7

Instructional Design (also called Instructional Systems Design (ISD)) is the practice of maximizing the effectiveness, efficiency and appeal of instruction and other learning experiences. The process consists broadly of determining the current state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some “intervention” to assist in the transition. Ideally the process is informed by pedagogically and andragogically (adult learning) tested theories of learning and may take place in student-only, teacher-led or community-based settings. The outcome of this instruction may be directly observable and scientifically measured or completely hidden and assumed. There are many instructional design models but many are based on the ADDIE model with the phases analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation. As a field, instructional design is historically and traditionally rooted in cognitive  and behavioral psychology. – Wikipedia

Instructional Design as I understand it is the development of a curricula based on independent learning plans. This is already been implemented in primary schools across the Victorian Curriculum.

ADDIE process

Perhaps the most common model used for creating instructional materials is the ADDIE Process. This acronym stands for the 5 phases contained in the model:

  • Analyze – analyze learner characteristics, task to be learned, etc.
  • Design – develop learning objectives, choose an instructional approach
  • Develop – create instructional or training materials
  • Implement – deliver or distribute the instructional materials
  • Evaluate – make sure the materials achieved the desired goals

This model, refered to as the ADDIE process, can be found in many aspects of the Victorian Curriculum, in Literacy, this method is heavily used to structure the classes, so that children have a firm understanding of the work they are expected to complete.

I believe this is a good way of educating however there are some educators which are strongly against instructional design. Here is a snippet of what one educator is saying in regard to Instructional design in regard to constructivism (learning by doing)

Several educators have also questioned the effectiveness of this approach toward instructional design, especially as it applies to the development of instruction for novices (Mayer, 2004; Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark, 2006). While some constructivists argue that “learning by doing” enhances learning, critics of this instructional strategy argue that little empirical evidence exists to support this statement given novice learners (Mayer, 2004; Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark, 2006). Sweller and his colleagues argue that novices do not possess the underlying mental models, or “schemas” necessary for “learning by doing” (e.g. Sweller, 1988). Indeed, Mayer (2004) reviewed the literature and found that fifty years of empirical data do not support using the constructivist teaching technique of pure discovery; in those situations requiring discovery, he argues for the use of guided discovery instead.

What are your thoughts about this? Please feel free to add comments in the comments section of my blog!

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